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pie pumpkin with food grade shellac

s
sundancer 10225 Sep 29, 2012 07:38 AM

I bought this lovely little pumpkin for soup only to realize when I got home that the reason it was so attractive was because it was coated with "food grade lac-shellac based wax to maintain freshness," according to its label. Is this still edible and how do I treat it? Thanks

  1. todao Sep 29, 2012 08:38 AM

    If you were born after 1950 you've been eating food grade shellac (or other waxes) on oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, honeydew, apples, pears, plums, nectarines, papayas, mangos, avocados, eggplant, green and red peppers, tomatoes, bell peppers and similar foods for a very long time. It wasn't until late in the 1980's that the FDA required notice for the presence of food grade shellac to be put on fruits and vegetables to which they are applied.
    Remember the wax mustache and other wax items that kids ate in years past? Ever eat a honey comb? Do you use cosmetics? That's all food grade wax.
    You may find notices posted in the supermarket produce areas informing shoppers that some of their produce has been coated with food grade petroleum or shellac-based wax, presumably to preserve freshness (which I suspect means it keeps air away from the surfaces to reduce oxidation).
    If I were somehow concerned about the presence of these food grade shellacs/waxes (which I am not) I would simply wash their surfaces well in hot water, rinse and dry, then proceed as normal.

    1 Reply
    1. re: todao
      s
      sundancer 10225 Sep 29, 2012 01:09 PM

      Yes, thanks. I went into Whole Foods shortly after posting and, for the first time, noticed a posting about this very thing, just as you described. So although I am reassured, I also bought another little pumpkin which doesn't have a waxed appearance. Now I can cook and compare or use one as decoration. Thanks for your replies.

    2. coll Sep 29, 2012 07:58 AM

      Food grade means it's edible. If you're worried then don't, pumpkins look nice on the front step this time of year. But I guarantee a squirrel will eat it up, and suffer no ill consequence to boot.

      1. l
        LJS Sep 29, 2012 07:49 AM

        Never came across this problem myself, but unless you plan to use the shell (to serve the soup?), I think the "contents" of the shell should be fine IF you don't roast it to pre-cook...that could be tricky. Pumpkins here are VERY easy to obtain and cheap this year where we live, so in your shoes, I think I would put the original on the table as decor and purchase a second for baking.

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